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Picking a wedding venue can be one the most fun and most stressful parts of wedding planning. It doesn’t have to be though!
Here are some key things to getting the best deals and avoiding some mid-wedding planning meltdowns.
Saving Money On A Venue
1. Know Your Budget
In order to avoid venue anxiety, you need to have a set budget. Within your wedding budget, set aside a certain amount that you or your family is comfortable with for the ceremony and recption. Figuring this out first will make choosing easier. Keep in mind: Small Venue + Small Guest Count = Lower Cost Overall
2. Pick Your Venue Early
As soon as you and your fiance have settled on a date, start venue shopping! Picking your venue early lets you be the master of your wedding date and not letting the venue tell you when your wedding will be. Picking your venue early also let’s you decide what day of the week you want it. Saturday venue rentals will be the priciest of all the days, so if you are looking to save the most money, opt for a different day of the week. Spring and summer weddings are also going to be more expensive from a venue point of view. If you are okay with having your wedding in the fall or winter, you will end up spending less.
3. Stay Organized
Venue shopping can be stressful, but staying organized is crucial to staying within budget and picking the best venue for your wedding. Decide on what city you are having the wedding and reception and begin your search. One way to stay organized during your search is to create a list. You can hand write it, create an excel spreadsheet or laminate it and put in a color coded binder. Organize in whatever way works best for you.
4. Do Your Research
If you have friends who were recently married in the location you are choosing a venue, talk to them. Ask them about the venue, what they liked and didn’t like. If it fits in the budget and you like, put it on the list. Make sure to communicate with each venue on your list to see what is included in the reservation fee. Look for venues that include tables, chairs, linens and some other decorations to limit outside cost even more. Try to limit your list to 5 or less venues so it will make comparing and choosing much less overwhelming.
5. Look For Package Deals
Look for venues that allow you to have the ceremony and reception in the same place. A lot of venues will offer a ceremony and reception package which will help by reserving and paying for only one location. Some examples include having your wedding at church and the ceremony in the fellowship hall or doing a ceremony in a park and having the reception at the pavilion. If you have family land and family that would be willing to let you have a wedding on the property, consider this as a free outdoor space for a wedding.
Saving Money On Catering
1. Know Your Budget
Just like choosing a venue, you need to have a set budget for catering costs. The amount you spend on catering will depend on the type of food, number of guests, whether you hire an outside caterer or use the venues caterer. The number of guests is going to be the largest factor to determining your catering budget and each cater will be able to give their per person costs to help you decide.
2. Pick A Non-Traditional Wedding Time
If you choose to have your wedding in the evening, you may feel compelled to have a full course dinner for your guests at the reception. If you want to avoid these feelings, consider having a mid-afternoon wedding. This way you can be creative with food choices at the reception. You could have light horderves, an ice cream bar, candy bar or cake and punch. This cuts your catering cost tremendously. If you want to have an evening wedding with a dinner following, but want to cut cost, limit the number of guests you invite.
3. Choose 5 Non-Alcoholic Beverages Or Less
To cut your catering cost even more, serve 5 or less non-alcoholic beverages, like water, tea and lemonade. Alcohol is extremely expensive and you could easily spend your entire catering budget on just beverages for your guests. If you want to have champagne for the cake cutting, just have enough for the bride and groom.
4. Ask Family & Friends For Help
Know someone who loves to cook? Have a friend who owns a small bakery? Ask your creative culinary friends for help. Now, your friend(s) may not be able to do it for free , but they may be able to do it for a much lower cost than a professional catering company, which would be a wonderful wedding present.
5. Find a Venue & Catering Package
If you find a venue that offers catering as part of a package deal, consider that option for ease and saving money. If your venue gives you the option of using its caterer or an outside cater, talk to them about your food ideas and then compare prices. Also, when deciding on a caterer, look for a buffet option, it will be more cost efficient than a plated dinner.
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